Sleppa leiğarkerfi.

Hildur Bjarnadóttir

Hildur Bjarnadóttir’s work playfully tests the conceptual and material parameters of "textile art." In “Shooting Circle,” a round crocheted tablecloth sports tiny crocheted guns that one might initially mistake for swans or strange flower. In “Frippery,” the artist uses the velvet pile technique–a technique for rendering embroidery plush and dimensional–to "ruin" an embroidered tablecloth with puffy representations of moss.

 

Hildur’s process is often labor intensive, and the work that results raises questions about the multiple and often contradictory meanings of “work” in particular the understanding of "work" as labor versus the use of the term to refer to art (as in "work of art"). For example, Hildur unraveled two yards of painter’s canvas and then rewove the string into a wall hanging. The result is “Reconstructed Canvas II”: an expanse of unmarked linen surrounded by crocheted squares. The promise of blank canvas is rewoven into something “pretty.”

 

The 2005 “Gingham” might appear to be nothing but a commonplace red-and-white tablecloth mounted on the wall. The gingham, however, has been woven from Belgian linen. The red of the textile is the result of dying the linen with acrylic paint. Like “Reconstructed Canvas,” the work is preoccupied with the weaving together of handcraft traditions and painting conventions. Hildur’s works are not decorative, if "decorative" is understood as pleasing and passive; rather, these works actively test the viewer’s assumptions of the categories of high and low art.

 

The impulse to decorate was something that Hildur was thinking about when she decided to make portraits of her grandmothers. “All my grandmothers made beautiful handcrafts, but when it came to decorating their homes, they would choose kitschy little statues,” Hildur states. “This was the art they held high: statues of people in worry-free situations, reading books, eating fruit, much different from the reality of their own lives.” In “My Three Grandmothers” (a work in progress), Hildur recasts her grandmothers in the form of those much-loved porcelain statues.

 

The idea of “portraiture” also gets a twist in Hildur’s 2004 “Thirteen Portraits.” Each 6 x 9 inch portrait is the result of applying a lint roller to a person–to hair and hands as well as to clothes. The lint squares, mounted on Plexiglas, are delicate, fuzzy blocks of color, threaded here and there with strands of hair. The lint roller portraits are the result of "shearing" an individual’s surface.

 

Hildur is currently preparing for upcoming solo shows at Pulliam Deffenbaugh Gallery, Portland, Oregon, as well as the solo show The Boise Art Museum, Boise, Idaho.

 

Eva Heissler

 #5 [September 2005]

 

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